Reducing phosphate in the water environment

Over half the waterbodies across our area contain levels of phosphate which prevent the occurrence of good ecological condition. Whilst naturally occurring nutrients feed the diverse range of flora found in our water environment, in excess amounts man-made phosphorous acts as a pollutant.

Invisible to the naked eye it makes its presence clear by disrupting eco-systems, allowing nutrient-hungry algae to out compete aquatic plants and, in extreme cases, trigger algal blooms. When the algae dies it is deposited as sediment which smothers plants and uses up oxygen as it decomposes, suffocating aquatic insects and fish.

Attempting to tackle these water quality issues across a wide catchment area requires unique and pioneering solutions which engage the public in what they can do to help.

Despite around a quarter of phosphate coming from agricultural sources such as soil and nutrient runoff, yard drainage and organic manure a significant percentage comes from private package treatment plants. Whilst agricultural contributions have been decreasing due to better nutrient
management, and water company wastewater treatment works discharges having reduced by more than half since the 1990’s. Not a great deal has been done with communities not on mains drainage.

The Adur and Ouse Catchment Partnership identified properties unlikely to be served by the main sewage network and, therefore, likely to be using a septic tank or small package treatment plant. Literature was sent to all those within 100m of a watercourse to raise awareness of the issue and encourage best practice.

See our leaflets and literature below and see how you can make a positive contribution to the health of your rivers and streams.

Find out how you can reduce phosphate in your local water environment.
Find out about septic tanks and how to maintain them.

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